Jessica Poulin


Jessica Poulin.

Jessica Poulin


Jessica Poulin


Clinical Associate Professor, Milton Plesur Excellence in Teaching Award, UB Teaching Innovation Award

Research Interests

Undergraduate curriculum development; Evolutionary ecology

Contact Information

C553 Cooke Hall

Buffalo NY, 14260


  • PhD, University of California, Irvine

Office Hours

  • TBA or by appointment

Research Summary

Though my research background is in Evolutionary Ecology, specifically Conservation Biology and Botany, I have moved away from lab/field research into the study of science education at the college level. My work takes two approaches: course development and course tool development. My course development focus is on designing and implementing new courses as well as employing new teaching techniques to improve content transfer to students and to enhance the broader experience of being a student in the Department of Biological Sciences. In terms of course tools, I have spent several years focusing on how computer simulation can help educate students to intuitively understand evolutionary biology, population genetics, and, most recently, Mendelian genetics; using a tool developed through collaboration with the Computer Science and Engineering department called Pop!World. Pop!World allows a college-level student to explore the five microevolutionary forces and see their effect in real time, an experience unavailable in a traditional wet-lab environment. We also have versions in development for lower level students and entering college students to explore Medelian genetics and are beginning to work on a version for advanced college and graduate students to serve as a clearinghouse for online tools for studying evolution. I am focused on rigorous data collection on how these two approaches, new courses and course tools, affect student learning and experience.

Selected Publications

  • Poulin J, K Dittmar, B Ramamurthy. 2013. Toward a better understanding of population genetics: Pop!World — a virtual, inquiry-based tool for teaching Population genetics. Journal of College Science Teaching. 42(3): 32-37
  • Ramamurthy B, J Poulin, K Dittmar. “Cloud-enabling Biological Simulations for Scalable and Sustainable Access: An Experience Report”, (XSEDE conference), July 2012, Chicago, IL.
  • Ramamurthy B, J Poulin, K Dittmar. 2012. Cloud-enabling scientific tools and computational methods for invigorating STEM learning and research. The Journal of Computational Science Education (JOCSE). 3(1):28-33.
  • Poulin J, K Dittmar, B Ramamurthy. 2012. Pop!World: A cloud-enabled teaching environment for population genetics. Tool/software Copyright: R-6761.
  • Ramamurthy B, J Poulin, K Dittmar.”Cloud enabling STEM Education: Evolutionary Genetics on the Cloud”, NSF Showcase, Special Interest Group in Computer Sceience Education (SIGCSE 2011), March 9-12, 2011, Dallas, TX.
  • Poulin J. 2010. Evolutionary Biology Lab Manual. Hayden McNeil, Plymouth, MI. 1st edition. (updated editions yearly)
  • Poulin J. 2010. Evolutionary Biology Lecture Guide. Hayden McNeil, Plymouth, MI. 1st edition. (updated editions yearly)
  • Poulin J, SG Weller, AK Sakai. 2007. Phenotypic plasticity, precipitation, and invasiveness in the fire-promoting grass Pennisetum setaceum (Poaceae). American Journal of Botany. 94: 533-541.
  • Poulin J, SG Weller, AK Sakai. 2005. Genetic diversity does not affect the invasiveness of fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) in Arizona, California and Hawaii. Diversity and Distributions. 11: 241-247.
  • Poulin J, AK Sakai, SG Weller, W Wagner. 2005. Invasive Species of Terrestrial Ecosystems. In Plant conservation: A natural history approach. GA Krupnick and WJ Kress (Eds.). Smithsonian Institute Press, Washington, DC. pgs. 176-184.
  • Mueller UG, J Poulin, RMM Adams. 2004. Symbiont choice in a fungus-growing ant (Attini, Formicidae). Behavioral Ecology. 15: 357-364.